Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 112/113 - Beaufort West to Upington, South Africa

Day 112:  Today we had to make up some time, so our goal was to reach Upington, 650 km through blistering heat, riding a long, boring and straight road north.

A typical rest area along the roadside with a shaded cement table and a garbage can.

 This picture didn't change for 7 long hours. 

Boring, isn't it?

Day 133: We spent the morning flying over a game farm near Upington and the flooded Oranje River thanks to our hosts at the Islandview Guest House, the Mocke family. Eben Mocke and his son own and operate the RF2000 Gyroplane manufacturing and training facility in Upington.

 RobT, wondering how he can get his hands on a little machine like that.

 RobC and pilot, Eben, flying over herds of African game animals.

 Quite a sophisticated machine.

The spec in the air is Eben and RobC

 Herd of gemsbok

 Blue wildebeest

 Zebras running away from the low-flying gyroplane.

The flooded Oranje River due to heavy rains coming down from the northeastern part of South Africa.

Safe and sound on the ground after an amazing flight!  Man I miss flying!!!

This Gyroplane is quite an aircraft.  The RF2000 was originally designed and built in Saskatchewan, Canada but now its being built in South Africa.  We had a tour of the main manufacturing facility, training classrooms and assembly building.  The main power plant of the Gyroplane is a 2.2 Liter Subaru engine, which enables the aircraft to attain a cruising speed of 70 to 80 mph and a ceiling of 12,000 ft.  The propeller in the rear provides the thrust forward and the rotors on top keep the craft at altitude.  The rotor is only engaged to the engine on takeoff, after which it is disengaged and the forward motion keeps the rotor turning at an average rpm of around 330.  What a machine!

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